Quad Bike Safari to Kubu Island

SAND & STARS

Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans is one of the most intriguing places on earth, but perhaps the most extraordinary place of all is Kubu Island – and that’s exactly where you’re headed on this five-night expedition by quad bike. Standing sentinel across the sand and filled with baobabs larger than buses and older than Christ, the island is a holy secret of the Bushmen and a place of ancient power and ritual, and to visit is something truly special.

You can choose to spend your first nights (and last night) at either Jack’s Camp, San Camp or Camp Kalahari and from here, you’ll soak up the magic of the Kalahari Desert on game drives, night drives and bushmen walks. Then, it’s time to hop aboard your quad bike and barrel across the expanse of scorched, white earth of the Makgadikgadi Pans. Travelling in convoy, Indian-fashion, ensures a low-impact trespass and you’ll leave no trace of your existence behind as you zoom towards Kubu Island and the open-air fly camp. So, what are you waiting for? Open throttle, close your eyes and travel; there’s absolutely nothing to crash into…

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Price from:

$3,800

Duration:

5 nights/ 6 days

Departure Dates:

1st June to 30th September

Min / Max Group Size

Enquire with reservations

Trip Begins / Ends

Maun / Maun, Botswana

Includes Mobile Camping:

Yes

Details, Details

Highlights

  • Experience all corners of the Kalahari, the desert with the greatest species diversity in the world, on game drives, night drives and walks with the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen.
  • Spend time at Jack’s Camp, San Camp or Camp Kalahari, three of the most magical camps in Botswana.
  • Set out on a quad bike and lose contact with time, space and direction as you traverse the enigmatic Makgadikgadi salt pans.
  • Sleep under the stars, explorer-style, in a five-gazillion-star bedroom on the Lost Island of the Baobabs.
  • Explore the magnificent Kubu Island, a granite profusion that’s one of the most beautiful spots in Botswana, and full of intriguing detail.

The Essentials

Pricing Information: From $3,800 per person sharing, based on four people travelling and staying at Camp Kalahari. Please note that a supplement will apply for groups of two or three. Price will be dependent on which camp is chosen – Jack’s Camp, San Camp or Camp Kalahari.

Included: Travelling costs as per itinerary; activities (most!); entrance and park fees; accommodation as specified on a sharing basis; all meals and local drinks; road transfers; applicable tourism levies, taxes, and all relevant VAT.

Excluded: Expenses of a personal nature, such as telephone expenses & shopping; premium brand drinks; tips and gratuities; additional activities; scheduled flights and related taxes; Visa fees where relevant; cancellation, baggage, medical, and evacuation insurance.

Child Policy: All ages welcome at parental discretion! Please enquire for more information on our child rates and policies.

Disabled Access: Please enquire with reservations.

Wifi: Wifi is not available for the duration of this trip.

Can this itinerary be customised? This itinerary is a five-night safari, however you can choose to spend more time at the camp of your choice at the beginning or end of the expedition to Kubu Island.

Extension ideas: For a completely contrasting experience, spend a few nights in the green and juicy Khwai Private Reserve in the Okavango Delta region of Botswana.

When to Go & What to Pack

The Kubu Island expedition can be done during the winter dry season, from the 1st June to the 30th September. Even in this relatively predictable dry season (although the weather in the pans is never entirely predictable…), each Kubu Expedition is unique and the route you’ll take across the lunar-like earth is never quite the same. In fact, an expedition can cover anything from 400 – 600 kilometres!

Your bag should most definitely include a sturdy pair of boots – we highly recommend RM Williams ‘Gardner Boots’, Clarks ‘Desert Boots’ or some trusty Timberlands – and a kikoy or light sarong to wrap around your head, Jack Bousfield-style, whilst zooming around on a quad bike. Moisturiser and lip balm will ward off the drying desert heat, and good fleece or jacket is a must for the chilly mornings and evenings. Other than that your usual safari wardrobe and gear will suffice.

Our Guides

On such an adventurous expedition, only the most courageous, bold and daring guides will do – and we’ve got plenty of them! But as well as a truly adventurous spirit and a side-splitting sense of humour (most of the time), our guides are all veritable encyclopaedias of knowledge. Trained by safari guide extraordinaire Ralph Bousfield, each has a deep understanding of the enigmas of the Kalahari Desert and the Makgadikgadi Pans and the many species that call the landscape home. Whilst other guides will tell you the facts and figures, a Natural Selection guide will immerse you in the environment and make you live and feel the essence of the bush – and give you a helping hand when your quad bike gets stuck, of course!

Highlights

  • Experience all corners of the Kalahari, the desert with the greatest species diversity in the world, on game drives, night drives and walks with the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen.
  • Spend time at Jack’s Camp, San Camp or Camp Kalahari, three of the most magical camps in Botswana.
  • Set out on a quad bike and lose contact with time, space and direction as you traverse the enigmatic Makgadikgadi salt pans.
  • Sleep under the stars, explorer-style, in a five-gazillion-star bedroom on the Lost Island of the Baobabs.
  • Explore the magnificent Kubu Island, a granite profusion that’s one of the most beautiful spots in Botswana, and full of intriguing detail.

The Essentials

Pricing Information: From $3,800 per person sharing, based on four people travelling and staying at Camp Kalahari. Please note that a supplement will apply for groups of two or three. Price will be dependent on which camp is chosen – Jack’s Camp, San Camp or Camp Kalahari.

Included: Travelling costs as per itinerary; activities (most!); entrance and park fees; accommodation as specified on a sharing basis; all meals and local drinks; road transfers; applicable tourism levies, taxes, and all relevant VAT.

Excluded: Expenses of a personal nature, such as telephone expenses & shopping; premium brand drinks; tips and gratuities; additional activities; scheduled flights and related taxes; Visa fees where relevant; cancellation, baggage, medical, and evacuation insurance.

Child Policy: All ages welcome at parental discretion! Please enquire for more information on our child rates and policies.

Disabled Access: Please enquire with reservations.

Wifi: Wifi is not available for the duration of this trip.

Can this itinerary be customised? This itinerary is a five-night safari, however you can choose to spend more time at the camp of your choice at the beginning or end of the expedition to Kubu Island.

Extension ideas: For a completely contrasting experience, spend a few nights in the green and juicy Khwai Private Reserve in the Okavango Delta region of Botswana.

When to Go & What to Pack

The Kubu Island expedition can be done during the winter dry season, from the 1st June to the 30th September. Even in this relatively predictable dry season (although the weather in the pans is never entirely predictable…), each Kubu Expedition is unique and the route you’ll take across the lunar-like earth is never quite the same. In fact, an expedition can cover anything from 400 – 600 kilometres!

Your bag should most definitely include a sturdy pair of boots – we highly recommend RM Williams ‘Gardner Boots’, Clarks ‘Desert Boots’ or some trusty Timberlands – and a kikoy or light sarong to wrap around your head, Jack Bousfield-style, whilst zooming around on a quad bike. Moisturiser and lip balm will ward off the drying desert heat, and good fleece or jacket is a must for the chilly mornings and evenings. Other than that your usual safari wardrobe and gear will suffice.

Our Guides

On such an adventurous expedition, only the most courageous, bold and daring guides will do – and we’ve got plenty of them! But as well as a truly adventurous spirit and a side-splitting sense of humour (most of the time), our guides are all veritable encyclopaedias of knowledge. Trained by safari guide extraordinaire Ralph Bousfield, each has a deep understanding of the enigmas of the Kalahari Desert and the Makgadikgadi Pans and the many species that call the landscape home. Whilst other guides will tell you the facts and figures, a Natural Selection guide will immerse you in the environment and make you live and feel the essence of the bush – and give you a helping hand when your quad bike gets stuck, of course!

Itinerary & Map

Days 1 & 2: Jack’s Camp, San Camp or Camp Kalahari, Makgadikgadi Pans

Your first two days will be spent out and about in the Kalahari Desert meeting meerkats, and game driving amongst the desert wildlife. You’ll also have the chance to visit the site of the famous Chapman’s Baobab.

Days 3 & 4: Lost Island of the Baobabs

Rev your engine and traverse the endless pans on quad bike to the Lost Island of the Baobabs, watching the mirages swim and eddy and losing all sense of time and direction. Day four is reserved for Kubu Island; crowned with an array of ancient, gnarled baobabs and surrounded on three sides by a vast grey emptiness, Kubu has a unique atmosphere and is one of the most graphically beautiful spots in Botswana.

Day 5: Jack’s Camp, San Camp or Camp Kalahari, Makgadikgadi Pans

Quad bike back to the comfort of your chosen camp for one last night.

Day 6: Departure

If you’re not departing too early in the morning, spend a little time with the Zu/’hoasi people of the Kalahari and share in their fascinating practises and traditions in a gentle introduction to the Bushmen way of life.

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Accommodations

On your expedition to Kubu Island, a fly camp will be set up on the magical Lost Island of the Baobabs. You’ll sleep under the stars, surrounded by towering boulders and squat baobabs, in the comfiest of bedrolls with the fluffiest of duvets. Water for showers bubbles over the fire, and you’ll find a hot water bottle tucked beneath the sheets when sleep finally overcomes. The food prepared at The Lost Island of Baobabs and at Kubu is impeccable; fresh and original dishes are laid out on white tablecloths and served with bone-handled cutlery – and the drinks cabinet is always open. This isn’t a five-star camp; this is a five-gazillion-star camp – and you don’t have to share it with another soul…

Please note that there is no phone signal or internet connection at the Lost Island of the Baobabs and with no electricity either, it’s advisable to bring a fully-charged set of spare camera batteries with you.

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Wildlife

Your expedition will start in the Kalahari desert, home of the cheekiest creatures of them all – the meerkat. Due to the ongoing habituation programme it’s possible to get up close and personal with the captivating animals and on chilly mornings, you might well find a meerkat snuggling up against you for warmth! On game drives in the desert expect to see springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and the elusive brown hyena, consummate desert specialists that can survive in arid areas where food and water are scarce.

Kubu is close to what is probably the biggest Greater flamingo breeding site in the world. When the water level is high, almost 30,000 birds fledge towards the site and although the nests are abandoned during the dry season, the acres of strangely shaped mud mounds are an eerie and compelling sight.

And it’s not just the animals that make this trip so special. How about visits to the mouth of the Zambezi in search of semi-precious stones? Maybe you’d like to explore the dramatic, 400-foot escarpment that signals then end of the staggering Great Rift Valley? Or perhaps clamber to the top of ancient granite boulders for mile upon never-ending mile of jaw-dropping views?

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